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British ‘Office’ ineligible for primetime Emmys

Lynn Smith Los Angeles Times

The British comedy series “The Office,” the surprise winner of two Golden Globes earlier this year, is ineligible to compete in the primetime Emmy Awards.

The critically acclaimed show, starring Ricky Gervais as a clueless middle manager, aired two six-episode seasons before closing shop last year.

Because its creators entered Episode One of its second season in last year’s International Emmy Awards, the show fell one episode short of the six required to qualify for a prime-time Emmy.

The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences does not allow programs to “double dip” by entering more than one Emmy competition, said John Leverence, vice president of awards.

Two “Office” specials were also shot and might be folded into a single finale expected to air later this year, but outside the eligibility period for this year’s awards. Gervais decided against splitting up the finale to add an extra episode to qualify the show for the Emmys, said BBC America spokesman Matt Marshall.

“We would have loved to have entered it,” said BBC America spokesman Matt Marshall. “We can’t enter.”

Leverence suggested that the show’s identity as a foreign program gave it “a certain lift under its wings” with the Golden Globes organizers, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, that it would not have with Emmy voters.

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